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Ask The Expert: Molly Robbins

Molly Robbins, from Molly’s Creative Cakes, is a talented cake artist and Rainbow Dust Ambassador, creating amazing novelty cakes in her unique style. Her bright colours, detailed style and novelty designs are what she’s known for.

www.facebook.com/mollyscreativecakes/

Lifelike Features

Q: What are your tips for creating lifelike eyes?

A: I create lifelike eyes in two ways. For a very glass like realistic effect, I use isomalt and the edible eye mould system from The Old Piping Bag. If I want a bigger or slightly more cartoon like eye, I use brown fondant with black centres and always a tiny white highlight! It really brings the eye to life and then you can use Rainbow Dust edible glaze to add a realistic shine.

Rolling Fondant

Q: When rolling out large pieces of fondant, what can I do to stop it from drying out before covering a cake?

A: When I roll out large pieces of fondant, it’s always important to work quickly to avoid drying out. Renshaw fondant doesn’t dry out which is why I use it for larger cakes, especially when mixed with modelling chocolate in a 3:1 ratio. I also knead fondant without icing sugar/cornstarch and only use this for rolling out as this can also lead it to dry out.

Preparing Cakes

Q: How far in advance should I bake and decorate my cakes before delivering to the customer?

A: As all my cakes are baked from scratch and do not contain preservatives, I never leave them longer than overnight before covering with buttercream or fondant and always cling film them as soon as they are cool. Once the cake is covered, I like to have them finished and delivered within three days but I know you can keep them longer than this (up to a week).

Proportions

Q: How can I get the proportions right when creating novelty cakes?

A: Proportions are really important when making carved cakes, especially animal shapes. A good way to do this would be to print out lots of photos from different angles; from the sides, above and behind. You can use a ruler to work out the proportion of the head to the body (e.g. 1:6) and then scale up to work with the size of cake you are making. It’s a bit too much maths for my liking so I tend to use my eye as much as possible.

Stacking & Carving

Q: My cake crumbles when I stack and carve, how can I stop this from happening?

A: I use a slightly denser Madeira cake or Genoese sponge when carving as it is sturdy and holds its shape well. A really sharp clean knife also helps the cake to stay together – a blunt one will just drag the crumbs around.

Applying Glitter

Q What is the best way to apply glitter?

A: I always use a brush to apply glitter. I first dip the brush in water or alcohol and then directly into the glitter making a glitter/paint that you can brush on directly and doesn’t create any fallout.

Metallic Paints

Q: What is the best way to paint with metallic paints?

A: The Rainbow Dust 100% edible metallic paint range is amazing for painting metallic details with a small brush. If I am covering a large area e.g. a tier of a cake, I use a natural sponge to apply all over, leave to dry completely then apply another coat. It’s always a good idea to use fondant as close in colour to your metallic e.g. grey for silver, caramel for gold.

Deep Colours

Q: What is the best way to achieve deep or dark colours?

A: For very dark or deep colours, I always use Renshaw pre-coloured fondant, especially black and dark brown. If I am making an unusual colour, I will use Rainbow Dust ProGels and colour white sugarpaste. And I always use gloves to prevent my hands changing colour!

Vibrant Colours

Q: How can I keep colours vibrant on my cakes?

A: Any Rainbow Dust or Renshaw colours stay really bold and vibrant but it’s important to store them correctly. The sun or very warm temperatures can bleach colours and make them look washed out.

Product Choices

Q: Why do you like using products from brands such as Rainbow Dust for decorating cakes?

A: I love Renshaw products as they really do have a paste for every need. I use their ready to roll icing for most of my sculpted cakes as well as modelling chocolate for blending and shaping. The Extra paste is brilliant for tiers and sharp edges. Rainbow Dust products are amazing as they cover all bases, from matte to metallic, paints for fondant, dusts for chocolate and sparkly edible and non-edible glitters. They are more of an artist’s palette than food products and always my go to colour choice.

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